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Featured Venue

Lakeside Pavilion

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Talking to

Aqua Willowindi

owner   Sarrah Nitely

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Aqua:     Hi Sarrah , Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview. You have been in second life for a long time, you must have seen many changes. Can you tell me what drew you into this world, your impressions

Sarrah :     Aqua thank you and TFM for inviting me to do this, when Michael asked me to take part he told me I was a celebrity and how people wanted to know more about me lol after my red face cooled a little, I did as I do and tried to blow him off as just trying to sell me on doing it, but who knows if I am I'll take it :)
I lived in the US for about 20 years and found SL during that time which was February 2008, I gravitated to it from 'World of Warcraft' as it seems many have over the years. SL was still a small enterprise back then, still finding its feet and there was little info out there about what it was which probably made it a bigger draw for me wanting to find out what went on. 

 At this point I should say that I'm a guy in RL so why my choice of female avatar?
There are several reasons. Something I learned in 'WoW' was girls get more help when learning than guys do so I continued that advantage over to SL knowing I would need a lot of help! Another big reason was that I'm kinda bi-gendered, I have a great appreciation of female energy SL gave me a chance to explore that. Sarrah my longstanding girl avatar has been part of my life for a long time and has helped me grow a huge amount over time in SL and RL.


I'm sure I'm far from the first person to tell this tale but maybe not in "print" 
So here I was a stranger in a strange land a bit of a broken and lonely guy in a girl avatar wandering in SL hoping it would fix my real life by helping me find something to fill the empty hole I had inside along with such a lot of other people. SL was and still is a land full of people like I was then, looking for a cure for their loneliness and complaining about being in clubs where no one will talk to them, truth is you are surrounded by people like yourself and no one wants to open the door of conversion for fear of rejection


Aqua:     You have an exciting Venue here, I've explored and tried the Rides myself. Tell me how such an amazing creation, came about.  Did you build it all yourself?  

Sarrah :    One of the really great things I found in SL was the ability to build things. In RL my Mum was very artistic, something I sadly didn't inherit I think there was always a frustrated artist of some sort in me and second life gave me the creative outlet I was seeking.  I get so much pleasure building from scratch or buying things and pulling them apart to reconstruct them to fit my purpose.
An SL trap I fell into though was building stuff and expecting the whole of SL to love the line in the movie goes, "Build it and they will come" (Prizes for naming the movie!)

Not so in SL, this was one of the hardest lessons I learned in SL and something that has crept into my real life and made such a happy change is" do it because YOU love it" If you're looking for Kudos from the rest of the SL world, good luck, but if you get lucky a few people might jump on board and join the ride with you, these are the true friends in SL that are to be cherished because they love you and not what you do.

Aqua:      Tell me about Lakeside, how it came about, the name, the idea

Sarrah :    One of the really good things about living in California was the number of music venues that were close to me. One of my fave places was Shoreline Amphitheater
I spent a lot of fun times of the best was each year Neil Young put on a show called the Bridge School Benefit.  The Neil Young events were all-day things all acoustic with about 10 different bands/performers and dead cheap to get into and so good, got to see so many people I never thought I would in my life time.
As Shoreline holds so many happy memories it was natural for me to want to bring a version of my happy place to SL, I didn't want to steal the name just in case they decided to come after me for copyright or some such stupidity so with the lake next door Lakeside seemed to fit the bill
I created Lakeside as much like the original ( pictured) as I could adapting it a little to suit my land and what is needed in SL.


Years have passed since I started SL and my reasons for being in SL have changed with them. During my US years, my body began to fail me SL had become a part of my social life not so much because I was lonely anymore but not wanting to be out and about due to the pain.

SL it seems has a huge population of aging humans many suffering from ill health or mobility issues...Here I think is a place where SL becomes such a wonderful place, it gives life to those people that would otherwise be alone for long periods of time, they bring such color and life to this wonderful world. Their lives may otherwise be filled by them whiling away time in front of the TV for lack of ability to do anything else and now they can come to SL and enhance it and us along with it. My life would have been miserable without it back then but I was one of the lucky ones, I returned to the UK a few years back and got my knees fixed, I no longer rely on SL to make me feel whole or to fill my lonely hrs. I now choose where I spend my time and my music ventures and my sims keep me here doing what I love


Aqua:       Did you always have a passion for music ?

Sarrah :     Yes from quite a young age, I was 66 recently so that puts me in the days of Radio Luxembourg, Pirate radio and the beginnings of Radio one...I would mumble like an old person about how 'Radio One'  was rubbish now, but I'll keep it to myself lol. (Radio one was the UK Gov's answer to combat in their minds the rebellious music that was being beamed into the UK from off shore  at the time, I was in my early teens when it arrived on air)  I loved listening to Luxembourg and Pirate Radio  as a youngster and spent much of my teen years walking around with a transistor radio stuck by my ear. Oh, such great days! 

A friend and I desperately wanted to have a pirate radio station...but never could get our transmitter to work lol we were in about 15 at the time and still learning about this stuff.
For those that may not know, Pirate Radio was based on  ships 3 miles or more offshore Radio Caroline was one of the big names back then and is still broadcasting now but it'slegally doing it now! There were also land based stations who played cat and mouse with the Gov. inspectors who were sent around to track them down and put them off the air. A transistor radio was run on batteries a bit like a mini boom box:))

And then there was Vinyl,  My bro and sis who are a good bit older than me had lots of old vinyl that they used to play on their record players...I loved listening to it as a youngster and it really set me on my path to loving music.
The music  of the time was born from the frustration of a youth stuck in a place run by older people we didn't want to be in, it was all about rebellion


Aqua:       Do you have any memorable moments you would like to share?

Sarrah :   Hmm, memorable moments..  Cancellations can cause a lot of stress on show night but performers have been very kind and always ready to help when someone cancels with a few moments to spare and I am running around like a crazy person, frantically trying to find a fill-in especially if it is a show in the middle of sets.  How do you keep an audience with no performer?  

 On the positive side we have kept a fairly regular group of performers at Lakeside, one stands out to me is Stinna, as much as she's a seasoned singer in SL it seems in the time she has been performing for us she has grown a huge amount, I can't say if it's just her comfort level at Lakeside but she seems so comfortable in her own skin and just full of confidence, she's happy chatting with the crowd and slipping in a few jokes along the way I just love her shows! 

Then I also can't say enough about our other Lakeside performers Inkaku and Winter I think for adrenaline rush they are both at the top of their game, Inka is the Queen of rock track singers in my mind. There's nothing she can't sing at a moment's notice (if she has the music) she's a great singer and so much fun on stage!

Winter also puts himself into everything he sings, knows how to work an SL crowd to have fun, he's a nice guy too, and does so much for charities in SL.

I kinda like to think of us as a family we all put a lot in to make sure the crowd is happy on a Tuesday, having a happy crowd makes me happy! So, yes they make up my memorable moments

Aqua:      I know how challenging it can be to put together shows and events. What do you feel are the biggest challenges in the music scene today?

Sarrah :   Putting on shows can be a lot of work, I think a lot of people think it's a fun idea and jump into it, but like any business in SL if you have no experience with business in RL unless you find you just happen to have the skills as you go along which is rare, building a business in SL that works is tough! For me I have run my own business's in RL most of my working life...which is a lot of years and as much as I can't call myself an expert business person, I have learned from the hard knocks club through the years so I have a clue at least. Having said that the music business was a new thing to me with new challenges.

People come to the shows thinking this is it, 3 hrs of music, performers turn up (or however long the show is) the host jollies the crowd along and we all go home happy. What they don't see is the hrs of prep, for each show. Advertising is a huge time suck, but if no one knows what's on, no one comes. So from the artwork to the making up of the ad's to the posting I think I burn up close to 15 hrs a week.
I have a Mall and land rentals which offset the costs of fees and building expenses a little, nothings for free in any life lol.

 We put a lot of effort into stage production, scenery swaps, curtains, and stage lighting. I do all this because I want to shows to be as much like a real concert experience as possible, hopefully the crowd leave feeling they have been to something special.
Also getting performers together for a show can be tough, finding times that work for all of the performers for a show can take a lot of juggling. I find having a regular schedule works best, for me at least. So most of Lakeside is set up each week but we do have a bi-weekly open spot I use to bring new voices to Lakeside it can be a challenge to track down someone new that's up to the standard we have at Lakeside just for a 1 off show. We now also have The Waterside Inn slowly growing which is a lot more low-key,but it's still time consuming but fun!


Aqua:      What are your ideas and thoughts on Lakeside, any future projects?

Sarrah :    At lakeside we have an overflow dance floor our cap on the lakeside sim is 42 and Winter can easily fill us up on a good night but because it's off to one side people tend to avoid it because they want to be in the big crowd which is understandable, although because less people are there it's usually less laggy and you can cam to the stage easily and be a part of the show. Something I would like to do eventually is turn Lakeside through 90 degrees and put the grass section where the overflow dance floor is now so that it's one seamless area with a capacity of 84, unlikely we will ever totally fill it but spreading the load between 2 sim servers would make the experience better with less lag.

I have created Waterside Inn as a small, more intimate venue to help artists such as Icky Flux and Sum to build a following we now also Have Ugly bill on board both doing bi weekly shows as a double bill. So this is a project in motion right now. Around the sim's we also have a roller disco situated at Milan Village above the theme park, we usually do 70's themed sessions with mostly funk to skate to, I haven;t put on regular sessions there for a while now but we recently put on a special for charity and it was so much fun, so time permitting I may have to do some more.
I'm always doing stuff around the sim's tweaking stuff or updating so there are always little changes going on to look out for.

Final thought
So  after all that, why do I do it? I love it thats why :)

Thank You Sarrah !!!

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